Assessments help teachers and students keep a track on individual and group performance. It is the fourth stage in the teacher training cycle, which is used as a regular tool to progress learning through feedbacks and improvements. Increasing and encouraging participation in classrooms constitutes towards a better learning approach.
What is Peer Assessment?
Students use peer assessment to provide feedback to other students in relation to the quality of their work. This assessment technique may require assigning a grade based on a criteria of excellence. Peer assessment encourages collaborative learning hence interchanging ideas which constitutes good work. Students help each other understand various concepts, identify each other’s mistakes and provide necessary help in resolving the matter. The conversation process is enhanced and students gain a sophisticated grasp of the learning objectives. Peer assessment is important to develop intellectual skills in students, where they get to make choices, lessen the power imbalance between teachers and students and increase student’s role in the learning process. The sense of autonomy in this assessment tool is utilized to formulate a better thinking process among students.
- How can it be practiced in classrooms?
Peer assessments is a collective effort of students who are ranked with similar characteristics. Feedback is a vital component of peer assessment, students often reflect their own efforts, extend and evaluate efforts of their peers as well.
Plenary buddies: this is a popular peer assessment technique used by teachers to group students and carry out plenary at the end of a lesson. Students are given some time to prepare for it and later if they feel confident enough they can discuss it with the class and check it against the success criteria too.
Peer assessments are good to boost confidence of students and encourage healthy discussions. Some advantages of carrying forward this assessment tool are;
It encourages involvement of all students towards taking ownership of learning, it also develops students’ skillset. Students tend to learn a lot from their peers, and what encourages lifelong learning is their judgement skills towards situations. Moreover, in a leaning environment students are always treated as majority and so feedback generating capacity for students is much greater than teachers’.
Prior to the assessment practice students perform better every time, so it develops reinforcement and creates a better chance to learn from each other. This in turn reduces teachers’ responsibility towards marking of regular tests in class.
Where peer assessments engage students towards maintaining their productive capacity it may also hinder the reliability of the practice with strong friendships in classrooms. Much of the activities in pairs are carried out between students of the same class, particularly friends who know each other quite well to support their flaws. Such conditions create gaps in the reliability of assessments. Students may also award everyone at one level, or may gang up against one person. Therefore, it is necessary for teachers to look after he assessment conditions, grading criteria or grouping in the class.
Training helps cover these differences effectively.
Peer assessments provide students with an overview of factors to be considered by teachers when marking work, therefore they may understand the academic requirements in a better manner. Teachers can benefit from students’ greater involvement through such assessments which helps them grow and learn better. For example, by engaging in assessments and reflection of their own work and the work of their peers students learn from their mistakes and target their learning in a much organized manner.
This practice can help deepen the understanding of students. Moreover, to change the environment a bit, teachers can also ask students to check assignments, cross-check class tests or lecture notes of their peers. This can be made as a discussion based activity to analyze faults, gaps and differences in understanding of other students. A collaborative mindset is worked out to better understand and improve performance of students.
Group activities which involves feedback collects responses or drafts of all students and team members are divided of which one may point out errors in the work of others, and one may be the spokesperson in the classroom activity. Students take turns in providing oral feedback on their peer’s drafts.
As a result, constructive feedback is expected when carrying out evaluation. Peer assessment increases the efficiency level in teaching environment. Hence, contribution increases to provide better outcomes.